More than double the number of GP practices were forced to close their list to new patients in 2015/16 as the year before, a new investigation has suggested.
NHS England figures obtained by the Sun showed 175 practices closed lists to new patients last year compared to 77 in 2014/15.
A recent Pulse GP survey showed that more than one in ten GPs (12%) had closed their list to new patients at some point over the past year, including both formal (approved by NHS England) and informal temporary list closures.
Several GPs who had not closed their lists said this was because NHS England or the CCG had declined their requests to do so, with an earlier Pulse investigation revealing that regional managers would decline up to two-thirds of reqests.
Commenting on The Sun’s figures, House of Commons health committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston warned that the NHS ’needs to be properly funded as otherwise it is likely to get worse’.
She also said the list closure statistics ’reflect the pressure that general practices are under’.
GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpual told the paper: ’GP practices are being overwhelmed by a toxic combination of rocketing demand for appointments, falling budgets and staff shortages.
’We need the Government to urgently act on its promises and provide GP services with the staff and funds they desperately need.’